In 2011, one in twenty-five Americans was arrested, and many of them were kept in custody until someone bailed them out. With arrest rates that high, you may know someone who will need to be bailed out of jail sometime in the near future. If you are asked to provide bail, should you? The answer to that question depends on the person involved, the crime committed, and your financial resources.
Over 50% of those held in local, state, or federal correction facilities are there for a drug related crime. Since many of these inmates need treatment, keeping them locked up does not help in their rehabilitation. Approximately 75% of felony defendants will never do jail time after they have pled or been tried. If your friend or relative is a first or even second-time drug offender, you may consider bailing them out, provided that they will seek help while they are waiting for their case to be resolved. If you have bailed this person out before and they returned to their usual practices, you are certainly justified in refusing to bail them out again. However, remember that drug addicts may require multiple trips to rehab before they best recover from their addiction.
Bail may not be an option for those accused of a violent crime. If you can bail out a loved one in this circumstance, you need to consider if doing so is safe for both you and best for the defendant. Of course, many innocent people are accused of crimes each year, and keeping them in jail can be a cruel and dangerous decision considering the violent climate inside. In 2012, 5.8 million violent crimes were reported by inmates of the correctional system.
If you can financially afford to put up bail for a loved one and are willing to risk forfeiting the amount if they do not show up in court, then taking the risk may be a logical decision. If you use a bail bondsman, you will still have to put up about 10% of the bail money, which is not refundable, and provide collateral. Again, if you are able to risk this amount and believe in your friend or family member, then bail may be an acceptable choice. If you do not have the financial resources to safely put up the bail money, then do not risk it alone. Consider joining with other family members to raise the necessary funds.
Bailing someone out is an act of kindness and faith. Consider the crime, the person, and your financial situation before your proceed. If you're thinking of getting a bail bond, consider contacting local specialists, such as Absolute Bail Bonds, to determine which might be best for you.